The Rollstone Boulder

This one's for my sister-in-law Heidi Hewey Lane ... I told her the story of the Rollstone Boulder when we were out together a few weeks ago. When she posted a photo of her shattered cup on Flickr, I thought I'd share this photo of the poor shattered boulder! Imagine the glue it took to put this one back together? I wish it had never been touched...

The Rollstone Boulder is a glacial erratic. It sat for hundreds of years on top of Rollstone Hill, about a mile from the center of Framingham. It was considered a sacred place by the Native Americans. It was also a well-known landmark to hikers. But in 1929 it was blown to bits intentionally, so it could be moved to the center of town to adorn the town common! 

Here is the unbelievable story of the Rollstone Boulder from the Earthcache "Glacial Erratic GC16HW9" description:

The history behind the boulder as a landmark is a long one. Indians and early white settlers used the boulder on top of Rollstone Hill as a landmark during their travels as far back as the early 1800s. Later, curious hikers climbed Rollstone Hill just to see the boulder. Professors and students of geology hiked the mountain to study it.(Kirkpatrick)

Rollstone Boulder weighs approximately 100 tons. It is made of porphyritic granite. It currently rests on Fitchburg’s common, but it didn’t always. In fact if you look in a westerly direction you will see where it actually was deposited by the last glacier that came through Fitchburg about 10,000 years ago. Look up to Rollstone Hill, it’s often easy to identify. It’s about one mile away. One can usually see that Fitchburg High School seniors paint their year of graduation on the hill. This is approximately where the Rollstone Boulder was deposited by the glacier. (Andrienne)

It is believed that Rollstone Boulder came from the area around central New Hampshire, perhaps Bedford or Concord, New Hampshire. This means that the last glacier moved this large rock approximately 100 miles. If one takes a close look at the boulder one will see that this granite has some oblong crystals of white feldspars, something that the granite on Rollstone Hill does not have. (Kirkpatrick, 1971).

How did the boulder get to its present day location? Well as can be imagined moving this big boulder in one piece was impractical. If the boulder was going to be moved it had to be done in pieces, this could only be done by fracturing it. This process of fracturing has an interesting story behind it and demonstrates that fracturing the boulder was not very easy to do. On September 6, 1929 the McCauliff Quarry Co. painted the boulder with red and white numbers so that after they fractured and moved the boulder they could put it back together. They then dug away and blew up the ground beneath the boulder allowing it to drop 15ft to a ledge below. The boulder did not break apart as they thought it would. They had to eventually use dynamite to blow the rock into pieces so that they could load it on to trucks. They took the pieces of the rock from the top of Rollstone Hill and transported them to the upper common. The boulder was reassembled by Mark LeBlanc at a cost of about $364.74, which was probably a fairly large sum at that time. The assembly was completed around November of 1930. A side note here is that LeBlanc was never reimbursed for his efforts and money.(Andrienne)

 

 The Rollstone Boulder and Me

The Rollstone Boulder and Me

 About the Rollstone Boulder - not exactly the whole story!

About the Rollstone Boulder - not exactly the whole story!